Exploring Tonle Sap Futures

Research summary

The ‘Exploring Tonle Sap Futures’ project (2010-13) was one of the five localised case studies of the ‘Exploring Mekong Region Futures‘ project, led by The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and funded by AusAID. The Tonle Sap study looked -similarly to the entire regional project- the nexus between water, energy, food and climate change.


Building on and extending our previous research in the area, the Tonle Sap study focused on the interactions between livelihoods and the Tonle Sap’s unique water resources as well as the impacts that energy production (hydropower) and climate change are likely to have on both of these. The key methods included in our analysis was hydrological modelling, spatio-statistical analysis and scenario formulation.

Majority of the Tonle Sap livelihoods are dependent on the lake’s aquatic environment, and any changes in the Tonle Sap’s water resources are therefore likely to influence the status of local livelihoods. Hydropower development in the Mekong River is considered to be among the key factors in any future development of the Tonle Sap region, largely due to the expected negative impacts that hydropower development would have for the Tonle Sap flood pulse and, in particular, the immense fish production of the lake.

The regional Mekong Futures project led by CSIRO conducted a series of alternative futures workshops at both regional and local scales, providing a systematic framework to reveal local development scenarios reflective of participants’ values, knowledge and future visions.

More information

Project information

Research info

Research title
Exploring Tonle Sap Futures

Research timeline
1.8.2015 - 1.8.2015

climate change livelihood development scenarios socio-economic analysis water resources management water-energy-food-climate nexus


Cambodia, Finland

Aalto University
Water & Development Research Group
Espoo, Finland

Funding instrument

Project budget
0 - 200,000 euros

Head of research
Marko Keskinen

Research team
Marko Keskinen, Matti Kummu, Aura Salmivaara, Paradis Someth, Hannu Lauri, Hans de Moel, Philip Ward, Sokhem Pech

VU University Amsterdam, Institute of Technology of Cambodia, EIA Ltd, Hatfield Consultants Partnership, Tonle Sap Authority, Supreme National Economic Counci, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

Contact information
Marko Keskinen
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